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Compost Smells: This & Other Composting Myths

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by Dale Humphreys
(Los Angeles, California ,USA)

Composting is a natural and simple process and yet it has been complicated by machines, fallacies, misinformation, myths, and misunderstandings that came out due to erroneous publications and aggressive commercial marketing approaches.

Some of these misinformed facts have been passed around so many times that the general perception has become truth. An example would be the seemingly accepted fact that all compost smells.

But before we go into that, let’s discuss some other composting myths first.

Myth No1: Composting requires a lot of work

Truth: Composting is a natural process which involves basically the elements of nature doing the job for you.

All you need is to gather all the materials, lay it on, and let nature do her job. Composting is a low maintenance activity as well.

You only need to turn the compost file every once in a while to keep the air flowing to quicken the decomposition process and that’s it. You practically sit and wait for the the compost to finish.

Myth No2: Composting is limited to farms and wide open spaces

Truth: On the contrary, people living in urban areas who have no luxury for space can create their own composting bin from a trash can.

How much space would that take up? Also, there is another technique which you can use, the so-called vermicomposting which involves the use of red worms in a contained bin where you feed them table scraps.

Myth No3: Composting needs precise measurements

Truth: Even though composting ideally would be best achieved with the right combination of greens and browns elements, having the exact measurements is not that necessary. Estimates work just fine.

And those neatly piled up layers of composting piles you see in commercials, books, pamphlets and brochures of composting products, those are all for show. You don’t need to copy those, composting works the same way as you pile them up haphazardly.

Myth No4: You need specially formulated chemicals as starters or activators

Truth: Well, despite the claims of commercially available products that applying them to the compost pile will speed up the process of decomposition, buying them is not really necessary.

It is often the practice to just throw in some finished compost into the newly formed compost pile and that itself will serve as the activator to get things started. There’s no need to buy those expensive stuff.

Myth No5: Adding yeast will boost the compost’s performance

Truth: This is not true at all. What you’re doing is just wasting yourmoney by adding yeast to the compost pile. Yeast does not do anything to the compost pile and neither does it affect the performance quality of the compost.

Myth No6: Animals are attracted to composting piles

Truth: Yes, this to some degree is true. Composting piles do attract the occasional cat, dog or raccoon. Small critters will likely go for open compost piles and for piles that have kitchen scraps like meat, fat, dairy products, bones and pet manure to the pile.

Myth No7: Compost smells

Truth: Compost should not smell. If you find bad smelling compost, then the maker did a poor job picking the materials for the compost pile.

Other composting myths exist and it would be best to do yourresearch first before accepting them as truth.

Click here to read more DIY home tips about how to make compost for your garden

Updated: January 6, 2014 — 2:35 am

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